On December 21, 2018 Master Shawn Sicely, head instructor and owner of Mad River Taekwon-Do, was promoted to the rank of 6th Dan. Below is a profile of him and information on his teaching philosophy.
Shawn Sicely is head Instructor and owner of Mad River Taekwon-Do in Mad River Valley, VT . A native Vermonter, he currently holds the rank of 7th Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-Do thru Grandmaster Donnelly and recently received his 6th Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-do thru Grandmaster Suk Jun Kim and Taekwon-do International.
Starting Taekwon-do in 1990 at Donnelly's Martial Arts Center Master Sicely earned the rank of Green Belt and then had to stop practicing due to other interests. Soon after graduating from high school Master Sicely took up studying Taekwon-do again. After practicing Taekwon-do under several different instructors he met Grandmaster S.J. Kim and now considers him his instructor.
After teaching at Donnelly's and several different places throughout Northern Vermont, Master Sicely took over Mad River Taekwon-Do in March of 2012 after his close friend and previous owner Master Garth Genge passed away due to an illness. Having taught for Master Genge at Mad River TKD on several occasions it was students who actually asked Master Sicely if he was interested in taking over the school. Honored by the outpouring of support, Shawn relaunched Mad River TKD.
Mad River Taekwon-Do offers classes to anyone interested in learning the traditional art of Taekwon-do regardless of age and ability.
On December 21, 2018 Master Paul D'Ambrosio, head instructor and owner of Aliso Hills Taekwon-do, in Aliso Hills, CA, was promoted to the rank of 7th Dan. Below is a profile of him and information on his teaching philosophy.
Master D began his training in the late 1970’s, in a little dojo in Ohio. He spent almost 8 years there studying Japanese Kenpo Karate and Jiu-Jitsu, eventually earning a 2nd degree black belt. The foundation that was set in him in those early years of discipline, courtesy, and respect, became more a part of his life than something he practiced at the dojo.
After graduating college, he moved to New York to pursue a career as an actor. Not yet having met GrandMaster Kim, he researched numerous schools in Manhattan looking for somewhere to train, he was surprised to find that his training was far more specific and detailed than what others were teaching. He searched for a place to train in a similar style to what he was accustomed. Going from school to school for years, he studied wherever he could find an instructor that was teaching quality techniques, from traditional Shotokan Karate, to mixed martial arts, the style didn’t matter as much as the instruction.
In the life of every actor comes the move to California, and the move proved to be not only great for Master D’s acting career, but a turning point in his martial arts life as well. It was then that he met Grand Master Tong Suk Chun, and began learning the techniques of Taekwondo that would change his life. For years, he trained and practiced, trying to gain every bit of knowledge that he could from Master Chun. He practiced with Master Chun until the responsibilities of running the World Sports and Cultural Foundation took him away from teaching. Master D was sent to Orange County to learn from Master Spillmann and his affiliation with ATC began.
The greatest benefit of his 10 years at ATC, was the opportunity to train with and learn from Grand Master Suk Jun Kim, a direct disciple of General Choi Hong Hi, Taekwon-do’s founder. It was the teaching from GM Kim that completely changed the way he thought about and practiced Taekwon-do forever. With individual guidance and teaching from Master Kim, Master D was able to train at a very high level in the original traditional techniques of Taekwon-do as passed down from the creator. Under the tutelage of Master Kim and his Masters, Master D was able to learn not only how to practice the art but also how to teach it most effectively.
Master D is now certified as a 7th Dan Master in the original traditional style of Taekwon-do, as well as 4th Dan Master in Olympic sport Taekwondo. This uniquely qualifies him to teach to a very wide range of students, from the young Olympic hopeful, to the more mature practitioner.
Master D considers Aliso Hills Taekwon-do to be a place of learning, and his method of instruction emphasizes the traditional values of discipline, practice, hard work and focus. He strives to teach each class himself for continuity and accuracy. Promotions are based on a student’s individual progress and not an arbitrary timeline. His goal is to help each student reach their full potential and therefore, he expects his students to learn and practice with diligence and sincerity.
Master D continues his training with his teachers with the goal of continually improving his mind and body. Aliso Hills Taekwon-do is a proud member of Taekwon-do International.
Taekwon-do International is pleased to announce the following senior rank promotions to new Master Instructor ranks effective December 21, 2018:
Master Silvio Borelli, S.J. Kim Taekwon-do, New York, NY
Master Kathryn Yang, Yang Taekwondo, New York, NY
Master Shawn Sicely, Mad River Taekwon-Do, Mad River Valley, VT
Master Paul D'Ambrosio, Aliso Hills Taekwondo, Laguna Hills, CA
On Saturday, December 15, 2018 at Glen Ridge Taekwon-do in Montclair, NJ, Master Ed Meyer tested for his Fourth Degree Black Belt. Present at the test were Taekwon-do International Founder and President Grandmaster S.J. Kim, as well as TKDI General Secretary Master James Marr of Marr Taekwon-do in Shaker Heights, OH. Glen Ridge Taekwon-do is home to TKDI Chief Instructor, Master John Meany who was pleased to have his student reach such a great rank.
Prior to his time at Glen Ridge Taekwon-do Master Meyer was a Black Belt studying in New York City under Grandmaster Kim, and Glen Ridge has been pleased to have him as one of their Black Belts. Master Meyer has supported the many special events and regular classes at Glen Ridge and the instructors and students look forward to many years working with him in his new rank. Master Meyer is married to Rebecca Ratnow Meyer, also a Black Belt from Grandmaster Kim's school, and they have two children.
The same test day saw many students achieve new ranks, include three younger students who achieved their Junior First Degree Black Belts.
On Saturday, November 17, 2018 Asheville Sun Soo, in Asheville, NC, was honored to sponsor and participate in the 2018 Asheville Holiday Parade. “This was our 11th year as an annual entry in the Holiday Parade. We love the parade each year! It’s a great opportunity for Asheville Sun Soo to make a contribution to the community, while having a fun and bonding experience for our students and family,” commented Senior Master Tony Morris.
More than 350 Asheville Sun Soo students and supporting members – of all ages and ranks – marched in the parade this year! It was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine and smiles. The students shared great energy with the crowd, gave away over 5,000 pieces of holiday candy, broke nearly 250 boards – giving the broken boards to the cheering crowd! They also performed an all-Black Belt Demonstration, in front of thousands of spectators and WLOS’ TV cameras at the mid-point at Pack’s Square!
Asheville Sun Soo wants to give special thanks to the following for making this year’s parade the best yet!
The parade aired on WLOS-TV on Thanksgiving morning, and will air again on Christmas morning. You can watch the video below (we enter the frame at 13:40)!
Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, Montclair, NJ, held an In-School Competition on Sunday, November 18, 2018. The competition was solely for sparring and many students participated. The format was a bit unusual because each participant was guaranteed three matches and, given the smaller pool of contestants, the fighters received unusual match-ups. Because competitors could be different heights or weights, different ages and different ranks a handicap was added to the stronger competitors as needed to level the playing field. The day ended with a Family Derby where siblings faced siblings, with a referee to ensure safety of all.
Fighters who won two matches were awarded First Place medals, but all competitors were winners since each match was challenging to both people. Master Giletti, who organized the event, said, "our goal was to give the students a chance to compete, and to build confidence while having a lot of fun" and given the smiles at the end of the day we are sure she achieved that goal.
The event was a big success and Masters Meany and Giletti hope to hold similar events in the future.
Students at Glen Ridge Taekwon-do in Montclair, NJ have been getting ready for the Autumn competition season with extra training sessions. All students age 7 and up were invited to this series of very popular classes which are included with student membership.
Among the many purposes of these classes is not just to improve their sparring skills, but also to increase confidence with facing a variety of opponents, to become comfortable with wearing sparring gear, and to learn competition rules. The students have been invited to three competitions this Fall starting with an in-house competition for students with little or no competition experience.
Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts, Asheville, NC, had an amazing October 2018 testing weekend! The school would like to congratulate all who tested, and are very proud of our students and how much work they put into their practice.
Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts was grateful to have 7th Degree Black Belt Master John Meany, Senior Instructor for Taekwon-do International and owner of Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, as the Featured Guest Master Instructor for the October belt rank testing event. Master Meany, who has over 20 years of martial arts experience, visited us from one of our sister schools, located in Montclair, NJ. He and his wife, Master Laura Giletti have served the Montclair area through their school, Glen Ridge Taekwon-do, for 15 years.
The following students tested for Black Belt Ranks during the October testing:
2nd Dan: Phillip Dexter and Tom Gadsen
1st Dan: Sarah Broberg, Dana Dollar, Noah Goldblatt, and Jason Symonds
Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts in Asheville, NC had an amazing August 2018 testing weekend! The school would like to congratulate all who tested, and they are very proud of their students and how much work the students put into their practice.
Asheville Sun Soo Martial Arts was grateful to have Shihan Alex Ormaza, who holds a 6th Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate, as well as other advanced ranks in related arts, as our Featured Guest Master Instructor for the August belt rank testing event. Shihan Ormaza, who has been practicing for over 30 years, came to us from the Gastonia area of North Carolina. Shihan Ormaza is the Master Instructor and founder of Ormaza’s Family Karate, located in Dallas, NC. Thank you, Shihan Ormaza!
The school also thanks Mr. Billy Wyatt (3rd Dan) and Master Bob Kerr (5th Dan), from Kim’s School of Tae Kwon Do, for contributing their time as Guest Judges as well.
The following students tested for Black Belt Ranks during the August testing:
Mrs. Tina Clark – 48
Member of Instructor Staff
Licensed Professional Counselor
Tested to 2nd Dan
Mr. Damon Dickinson – 48
Tested to 2nd Dan
Nyah Franqui – 12
Tested to 2nd Dan
Michele Louzon – 57
Founder of Arms Around ASD – a nonprofit that provides services to individuals on the Autism spectrum and their families, regardless of their ability to pay.
Tested to 2nd Dan
Lucca Degennaro – 9
Tested to 1st Dan
Eve Flaum – 12
Tested to 1st Dan
Devin Martin – 17
Tested to 1st Dan
On Saturday, August 25, Taekwon-do International Founder and President, Grandmaster Suk Jun Kim, traveled to Master Marr's Taekwon-do in Shaker Heights, Ohio to oversee the promotion of senior ranks at Master Marr's Taekwon-do. In addition to a large number of color belts, school owners James Marr and Elaine Bayless had three students testing for 1st Dan and one testing for 3rd Dan. After achieving their personal best times running the required two miles, the 1st degree candidates--Kurtis Griffin, Nasir Rivers, and Jenny Steadman-- performed various color belt patterns, demonstrated their sparring skills, and then completed three board breaks each.
Testing for his 3rd Dan was 17-year-old Duncan Bayless-Marr, who has been training with his parents since he was four years old. In addition to his two-mile run and his patterns, Duncan fended off a pair of Black Belt opponents before executing three breaks he had never attempted, at the request of Grandmaster Kim: a suspended two-board reverse turning kick, a suspended two-board punch, and a jumping turning kick.
All four Black Belts submitted essays on the importance of Taekwon-do in their lives. Duncan talked about his long-term goal of becoming a Master Instructor, Nasir spoke about using the tenets of Taekwon-do in his daily life, Kurtis spoke of fulfilling a childhood dream, and Jenny explained how the dojang has given her a second family.